One of the frustrating parts is when I Google the name “Mazlan Abbas Blog,” the website does not even appear in the Google Ranking!
Here’s where many Bloggers would start to get very frustrated and abandon their Blogging activities. In reality (as described by many professional bloggers), it’s very typical, that we will only see the impact after several months!
Below is my traffic stats that showed the ups and downs. The “ups” is because I mainly promoted the posts on my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – and Facebook seems to be the highest referrals.
Surprisingly my top 3 countries (other than my home country Malaysia) are the United States, India, and Ireland.
Types of Blog Posts
The idea of my Blog is for Personal Blogging – sharing my journey into the world of Entrepreneurship, which mainly referred back to my business Blog called IoT World.
By monitoring the article’s number of views, I will understand what content attracted the readers.
Top be fair, the Blog is still at its infancy stage. It requires constant update with high-quality contents. I will be revisiting this statistics monthly and monitor the progress.
I am now using All-In-One SEO (AISEO) plug-in to help increase the SEO. And I have also followed many tips given by many other veteran Bloggers.
Kindly leave your comments and share your thoughts. I love to hear them.
I am not sure, but maybe it’s always in my blood or DNA to share knowledge, build talent, or teach others. I started my journey in IoT as early as in the Year 2001. At that time, the telco was called M2M (or Machine-to-Machine). The data are kept in silos; systems are called Telemetry, and Scada is a common name. Applications are limited to remote meter reading and vehicle tracking.
We can rarely see any fancy IoT applications because technology is in infancy stage. Cloud services are not available, devices are still expensive, no smartwatches, no open API IoT applications and many other missing components.
The Early Days of IoT
LinkedIn is my main channel to communicate with friends from overseas. And when I fully embarked on IoT in 2014, I couldn’t even find enough friends to exchange ideas. You can barely see any jobs with the title “IoT” at that period (unlike today, “IoT” is ubiquitous in many job positions).
I was part of the team that developed the Malaysia National IoT Strategic Framework, and one of the missions was to create an IoT ecosystem. We don’t see this materialize a couple of years down the road. Very frustrating after the hard work.
The Beginning of Generation-IoT
Thus, we offered our FAVORIOT platform as an IoT ecosystem for Malaysia and created a Generation-IoT movement. And …oh boy! It was a lonely journey. And very tiring too. No one believed in the mission to become a ProducerNation by building our IoT products. Talents are lacking.
Luckily, I was invited by many local Universities to be part of many Industrial Advisory Panels. For four years, we re-look back at the University’s contents and syllabus to include IoT and make it more structured. We hoped to have more IoT talents in the market with this refreshed syllabus.
Now we are seeing the fruits of the labor; there are many courses in IoT, Masters in IoT (UTHM), Diploma in IoT (KKTMPJ), and even a Certificate in IoT (Kolej Komuniti Seberang Jaya).
But I also received many comments from people who mocked me, saying why am I helping the local Universities because they are not giving you any projects or becoming your primary revenue streams. Well, that’s another story for me to tell another day. Actually, as of today, education is my second highest revenue contributor.
I am happy to say that I have helped build a Generation-IoT that will become the future technology leaders of IoT.
“IoTise” or “IoTising” can be a new term coined by FAVORIOT, and it’s the process of transforming organization operations or business using IoT technology.
Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight, but it will start with the organization’s leaders that can Champion the initiatives. If an organization is “old,” it will have more internal challenges because of the different cultures and Era.
Technology is not the main stumbling block, but it has to plan early to ensure no wastage and have better buy-ins.
Below is the interview taken from Exeleon Magazine recently.
What, according to you, makes one a dynamic leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?
Answer: In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, whereby digital disruption is happening all the time, a dynamic leader should be able to be agile enough to respond to the technological and business landscape. A person that willing to unlearn and relearn new things.
What led to the formation of FAVORIOT? What role do you play in the day-to-day proceedings of the company?
Answer: In the year 2016, I visited Silicon Valley on a business trip with several Malaysian business delegations. The exposure and the meetings with several big companies and Startups open the mindset that “anything is possible if we have a great vision.” FAVORIOT was officially formed in 2017 with the vision to help Senior Citizens who are aging at home to be monitored closely using wearable devices (IoT) and mobile applications.
What has the journey been like for Mazlan Abbas over the years? Looking back, what would you have done differently when starting?
Answer: Most of the time, technology is not the main obstacle to adopting the solution. It takes time for people to understand how technology like IoT can transform how they conduct business or run their operations. FAVORIOT is one of the earliest IoT Startups in the country. We have tried building several solutions internally, but the effort is huge to cater for different customer needs. Finally, we realized that our strength is the IoT platform we built which we have now offered to other ecosystem players. We could have captured the education market sector much earlier before moving up the value chain to business or corporate customers.
What is the process followed by the company when offering its services? How do we ensure optimal client satisfaction?
Answer: Education through training and webinars will open the eyes and minds of the customers. We encouraged the customers to think big but start small to get the buy-in from their C-suite levels. Understanding their business case and pain problems is critical in the early stage to ensure no wastage of effort later. It will be followed up with integration to their legacy systems before scaling up the deployment. In the final step, they will collect enough data to create new revenue streams, save costs, create new business models, or gather better insights regarding their business.
What would be your advice for young and aspiring leaders or entrepreneurs?
Test your ideas early.
Get feedback regarding your product and iterate until you get the product-market fit.
Don’t be ashamed if the original ideas failed or were not accepted.
What has been the biggest roadblock during your journey? What has been your most significant learning?
Answer: The biggest roadblock is getting the first few customers that trust your product and solutions. What we feel about our product might not be the same as what the customer sees. The most significant learning is getting the product-market fit as fast as possible.
Moving forward, what does the future look like for you and FAVORIOT?
Answer: The users of FAVORIOT IoT platform started from less than three countries in 2017 and now have grown to 115 countries in 2021. We see the market for IoT has begun to grow faster in the last three years due to the awareness and fusion of many technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality, Blockchain, Big Data Analytics, Robotics, and Drones. In all IoT deployments, it will require some form of an IoT platform, and this is where FAVORIOT would like to excel – To IoTise all Businesses.
Favoriot IoT Platform is the third IoT product that we developed. This is the turning point of our business – To IoTise Every Business.
It took us nearly two years to build our first IoT product – Raqib. Mainly because we have so many things to do, and we are very new to this kind of IoT entrepreneurship.
Since Raqib is an end-to-end solution, we need to identify the partner for the hardware since we can’t build the wearable in-house. Furthermore, the devices need to send data and connect to our IoT platform, create a mobile app, and develop a CRM system.
In 2018, we started with a simple trial, and later in 2019, we were able to have our first few customers using the solution during their trip to Hajj.
As per the second IoT product, Favorsense, we built it within a year and quickly introduced it to the market. We received a lot of feedback which we used to improve the solution.
But then, we also realized that we already had our third IoT product, i.e., the IoT middleware itself, while building the rest of the ioT products. Still, we never thought of offering this solution to others. We have begun to get user feedback by allowing users to use it for free until we started charging them in March 2019.
The Problem Statement
When we built our first IoT product, we learned that it is such a massive effort and takes a lot of resources – time and money. The same goes for our second product.
We decided if somehow we could collaborate with others to develop other IoT solutions by using our platform. We thought that the country had many IoT talents ready to build its IoT solutions, and we were wrong!
There are not many takers who can jump straight into the IoT world and build their IoT products. That’s when I realized the country is lacking this kind of talent? Where are they?
I am fortunate to be in many local Universities as their Industrial Advisory Panel or Adjunct Professors. That’s when we realized many of the current syllabi did not cover structured content about IoT. However, many universities are excited to get their students to select the IoT as their Final Year Projects (FYP). Still, unfortunately, many of the students have to learn on their own.
In the industry, they have started to get more interested in how IoT impacts their business but are unsure how to build or deploy their innovative solutions using IoT.
Even the whole ecosystem of IoT in Malaysia is not very strong because there are not many players as yet.
For Favoriot, we see this as an opportunity because our IoT platform can become the enabler to learn IoT and be used in commercial IoT deployment.
How Big is the Market
According to Mordor Intelligence, the IoT market reached $761.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $1.39 trillion by 2026.
There are four (4) components in building end-to-end IoT solutions – Sensors, Connectivity, IoT platforms, and Applications. We have touched a sweet spot, i.e., to become a preferred IoT platform for any IoT deployments.
In 2020, the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and many industries were affected by the lockdown—the idea of using emerging technologies to solve social distancing issues. Thus, the time for the IoT market to grow is about to begin.
The IoT Solution
The reasons why we want to offer our IoT platform as the third IoT product are as follows:
In every IoT deployment or project, there will be an IoT platform component. The idea is to deploy IoT solutions without involving high cost by using a Cloud-based IoT platform.
We are not able to build and customize to all user requirements.
We want to create a platform where the students can also use in their IoT projects.
This platform also can be used for Laboratory experiments.
Thus, the platform needs to be open and easily used with user-friendly APIs
The middleware comprises security, business rules, and notification engine and supports various protocols such as MQTT, CoAP, and REST.
Offer this as Platform-as-a-Service to allow as many users to subscribe to the platform and create their own innovative IoT applications easily while maintaining the ownership of their data.
Have the ability to charge the user in various subscription Plans such as Free, Beginner, and Developer Plans. Furthermore, we can also have a customized package and make it available on-premise.
Build a Generation-IoT (Favoriot) community that can share and learn each other’s projects and success stories.
Complete documentation, tutorials, GitHub, and forums are made available.
Initially, we started offering the free package to the Universities in early 2019; we noticed not many active users. Many of them use other competitive platforms such as ThingSpeak, ThingsBoard, or Blynk.
We realized that due to the unfamiliarity of the Favoriot platform and not many tutorials regarding the usage, we decided to compile as many use-cases, step-by=step tutorials made by some community members and upload them to our Favoriot YouTube channel.
I take the opportunity to introduce the Favoriot IoT platform in many of the invited talks, conferences, or webinars. Coupled with contests and special offers and bundled with training packages, we have reached more than 115 countries worldwide and more than 5300 users.
We started with users subscribing to the platform themselves, but now we have begun engaging with corporate users by having customized solutions.
The Growth Point
We have reached a stage whereby talents who graduated from the Universities are equipped with the knowledge of building IoT projects (and using the Favoriot IoT platform) more structured.
These new talents will become the catalyst for the growth of IoT in Malaysia and other countries around the world.
Here’s how we build our second IoT product targeted at Smart Cities.
In my previous article, our team set out to build our first IoT product called Raqib (formerly named Favorwatch). We also make another IoT product not so “IoT” in the proper definition because it involves humans to trigger the process.
It is a mobile application that uses the GPS and camera, the phone’s sensors, and sends the data to a platform. We built this because, in our previous company, we have in-depth experience in building a similar solution. Still, now we take this opportunity to develop a new version.
The Problem Statement
City dwellers will always see problems in our city infrastructure and services daily – potholes, garbage unattended, faulty lights or traffic lights, vandalism, pipe bursts, fallen trees, and many others.
Usually, we will either make the usual complaint via phone or email the local councils. Sometimes, the reports are left unattended, or you might not be aware of the status of the information. Either you call again, or you might get too angry and rant on social media.
The moment it goes viral unnecessarily on radio, tv, or social media, the harm to the local council’s image is not reversible. Sometimes, a minor issue can become a piece of massive news on national media.
Thus, how do we avoid this problem from happening? How do we get a proper channel for the citizens to make complaints easily and have simple means to monitor the status of their complaints?
How do we assist the local authorities to be more efficient in responding to the citizen’s complaints and be more transparent in their work?
How do we portray the local council and the local politicians to be more responsible in managing their cities or areas? Can we use the app to build better intelligent cities?
How Big is the Market
In Malaysia, 21 City Councils, 42 Municipal Councils, and 91 District Councils manage their areas. Malaysia’s population is around 32.37 Million, and the big cities in Malaysia have more than 500,000 people each.
Some big cities in Malaysia have started to utilize mobile apps to allow citizens to complain directly to them, but many cities still don’t have that facility.
Many still depend on phone calls, emails, or websites to receive complaints from their citizens.
Globally there a more than 10,000 cities worldwide. Thus, the market is still vast and untapped.
The IoT Solution
The idea is to use the citizens to become part of the “sensors” to report issues in the cities. How do we capture and locate the report quickly? How do you make the invisible visible? If we are to deploy sensors everywhere, it can be very costly; thus, the idea of using the concept of “crowdsensing” intrigues us.
We choose to build a smartphone app because of the following reasons:
Almost all users have smartphones. It will become the device to help them capture the data.
A smartphone has a camera (the eye) and a GPS (location). It has built-in connectivity to send data to the cloud or platform.
Cheap to deploy and install.
When a user sees a problem, he will open the app and capture the photo. The app will automatically geotag the photo and time stamp to indicate the location and time of the actual report. We want to avoid a user uploading from his phone photo album because it will cause the issue of fake complaints (taking photos from a different place and reporting at another location)
It’s also easier to send the status of reports back to the person who makes that complaint.
However, the smartphone phone app is just one of the main components of the total solution. There are three more components:
(i) Crowdsensing Management Platform (CMP)
The authorities appointed an Admin responsible for handling all the complaints.
A trouble-ticket ID can be generated from every complaint received, and the Admin is responsible for escalating it to the relevant field force or contractor.
Once the contractor has resolved the issue, the Admin will be responsible for either accepting or rejecting the work.
The status of the report will be tracked and shown on a Timeline.
The contractor or the internal field force of the local authorities will receive all the jobs assigned to them.
The report will show the location and photo and can easily trace it back for resolution.
Once the job is completed, another image can upload as proof.
A simple dashboard shows the KPI of the Division that handles the cases, such as the status of the reports and closed, pending, and rejected cases, among others.
Such reports are made in real-time and accessible anywhere. The management needs to have instant access to these insights.
This IoT solution is Favorsense – a crowdsensing platform that allows users to make reports regarding any issues in the cities. It will automatically collect the actual “pain points” of the cities. Favorsense will be an excellent tool for city authorities to identify these problems and turn them into innovative city applications. Thus, the app can become an official way for local councils to engage with the citizens.
But how do we reach out to our target market, i.e., local councils? We started with a direct engagement with the local councils themselves, making presentations and proposals. Talking at Smart Cities conferences also helped us in reaching out to them. Events like conferences are the best place to meet and have first introductions.
However, we didn’t anticipate this council’s long sales cycle and tedious procurement process. Nowadays, we take a different approach whereby we work via MSCA (Malaysia Smart City Alliance). We have an earlier opportunity to share our proposal for any Smart Cities initiatives.
The visit to Silicon Valley companies changed my view about the world of Startups. Many started with a humble beginning. Technology was born here. Anything seems possible!
At the end of the 2016 visit, I had the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley with the MDEC delegation in the Silicon Valley Immersion Program. This trip transformed the way I look at entrepreneurship – “Anything is possible” and “Have a grand vision, and you can turn it into a reality” attitude.
I have never thought in my whole life to become an entrepreneur. All I think was to become a CTO in any big corporate organisation – that’s all. However, that business trip changed my whole life! On my return home, I decided to build a Startup in IoT – and that’s how FAVORIOT was born in early 2017.
The Inspiring Logos
For a first-time visitor, I was excited watching the Logos of famous companies on buildings, offices, parks, and shops – it’s the everyday hardware and software that we used back home. Hewlett Packard, GE, Cisco, Apple, Google, Facebook are among the logos that inspired me. My heart was beating fast to be at the place where the technology or product that I used daily was born!
For any computer enthusiasts, the Computer History Museum at Mountain View is an excellent place to visit. You can see how computer history began here, starting with the vacuum valve to integrated circuits and the first PC and Apple computer. What you see in photos can now be seen physically, and that already amazes me. Imagine the power of our computers and smartphones begin with a small step from the brilliant minds of the inventors and innovators of Silicon Valley. For a first-time visitor, I was excited watching the Logos of famous companies on buildings, offices, parks, and shops – it’s the everyday hardware and software that we used back home. Hewlett Packard, GE, Cisco, Apple, Google, Facebook are among the logos that inspired me. My heart was beating fast to be at the place where the technology or product that I used daily was born!
Birth Place of Unicorns
Many Unicorns started with a humble beginning, and some started at Plug and Play Tech Center. For example, Dropbox started from within a small cubicle in Plug and Play, and it has now valued at USD 10 Billion. Other examples are PayPal, LendingClub, Guardant, Hippo, and many others. Seeing that logos on their walls made you believe, “If they can do it, why can’t we?“
We had the opportunity to pitch in front of investors at Hero City, Draper University. It was a very nerve-wracking experience – even though we had practiced the pitch many times before arriving in Silicon Valley. It seems to pitch is like an everyday thing here, and you can either pitch on an official platform or pitch to an individual investor after the event. Personally, the term “pitch” is synonymous with a short talk to convince investors about your Startup.
Almost all the people we talked to here are amicable and keen to listen to our ideas and give constructive feedback. They are more than willing to recommend us to other parties if they see their peers or friends benefit from our solutions.
The place is always bursting with new ideas, and no one seems to get worried if their ideas get stolen or not. Maybe it’s because many of these ideas are not unique to them, and they would instead share with others so that they can help to improve the ideas further. There are so many Startup Founders and Investors, and you might be lucky if you happen to have lunch or dinner in a restaurant and meet them.
The highlight of the visit is the walk-around on Google and Facebook Campus. It’s like a small Google or Facebook city!
Anything is Possible!
The energy, enthusiasms, and excitement made you believe that your ideas could soar higher and conquer the world. Age doesn’t matter anymore – anyone can start their entrepreneurship journey with a small cubicle or co-working space. Ideas can spark quickly and maybe can fuse with other ideas to make it better. The conducive Startup ecosystem of supporting each other made you believe that you are not alone in this world, and everyone here seems to be open enough to help you.
I will share the rest of the entrepreneurship journey in another article – why I choose the Internet of Things (IoT) as our business focus and why we build the first IoT solution that we think can conquer the world!
When I have this idea to write another E-book on Internet of Things, I was trying to figure what’s the best way to share my IoT journey.
Earlier, I have published two E-books – Your IoT Journey (815 downloads) and IoT Notes (1445 downloads). Both of these E-books I have made it available for free. Initially when it was first launched, it was offered at a price below USD 2.99.
It will highlight several things (list is not exhaustive):
Why is IoT as the main business?.
In which area should we focus in IoT since it covers a very vast area.
Who and where do we find the customers?
Do we really have IoT killer apps?
How do we build the first IoT product?
What are the things we need to avoid failure?
How do we market our IoT product?
How do we price our solutions?
What are the business models?
What kind of support is required?
How do we grow our IoT business?
You can check more of the IoT Adventure contents here.
Personally, it has been a very exhilarating adventure when I decided to embark on this journey. We have failed and learned a lot and it’s about time to share some of my experience so that we can help new IoT entrepreneurs to be more successful in their mission to solve their customer’s problems.
But I also would like to open to comments from the readers to share their thoughts and experiences about their IoT business too and how it can help the whole IoT ecosystem to spur and grow exponentially.
Sign-up – Please inform me of your new IoT Adventure eBook!
Your Blog can be considered a “dead” blog if there’s no traffic and no one is reading or aware of them. A lot of bloggers stopped half-way and abandoned their blog when they didn’t see any traffic or activity.
However, in the era of social media, we have many channels to promote our blogs, which includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. However, in order to drive tons of traffic, we need to do this the right way. Below are some of the tips and formulas.
Use short and provocative tweets
Include an intriguing quote from post
Make use of #Hashtags creatively
Retweet mentioned blog content
Ask for a Retweet (or RT)
Use visually appealing images
As a question related to your topic
Tweet about your blog-hosted contest
Promote your tweets
Include a blog link in your bio
Schedule your tweet properly
Include a strong call to action
Tweet the link more than once
Create “Click to Tweets” within your article
Retweet or thank anyone who mentions your Blog
Pin your latest blog post to the top of Twitter Timeline
Not only your Blog will have more traffic, but your own Twitter account can also attract more followers. Your Twitter will be seen to be more engaging with relevant content sharing.
Yes – there’s a truth in this. That’s what they said a couple of years ago. However, there are many type of blogging such as personal journal, lifestyle, travel, health, technology and many others.
The trend for personal blogging have decline. People might no longer have interest to follow an individual daily activities, their families, trips etc. This type of content can easily followed via their social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram.
Entertainment vs Educational Blogs
However, blogs which covered specific topics that solve the reader’s problems would be the ones that have longer lifetime. The topics are more educational as compared to entertainment.
The contents for educational type of blogs can remained evergreen as people still searched the Internet for solutions.
This is something which I need to decide when I created Mazlan Abbas Blog – should it be personal blogging or a blog which is more educational such as the one I created at IoT World Blog.
Today, is my third day of blogging, and I will always monitor the traffic to see how the contents impact the traffic to the blog.
Why should you read and follow this Blog? If you want to read IoT contents, you may visit IoT World Blog, but here you will get constant updates about my journey in developing projects such as my Startup, FAVORIOT, Podcasts,, YouTube, Online marketplace and E-Books.
Along the way, I will share the ups and downs or probably some tips that we should avoid in building such projects. I hoped this will also become a platform to listen yo your ideas and thoughts too. Please leave you comments on the posts.
This is the first post to indicate the opening and launching of Mazlan Abbas website dated November 17, 2021.
I was listening to Pat Flynn podcast and was inspired by his work work on Smart Passive Income. It all started two weeks ago and I have just finished his 22nd Podcast. He had over 500 podcast which he published almost every week.
Although, I have my own Blog called IoT World which I have created many years back, I have always wondered whether I should create my personal website using my name. I checked and noticed the domain mazlanabbas.com was not taken and that’s when I decided today to buy the domain and use WordPress as the hosting site for the Blog.
There’s always pros and cons of having our own name as the domain such as we will not be able to sell this domain name later as compared to niche sites. Furthermore, I have many other things which I would like to share but unable to do that on my IoT World Blog.
I have created many other personal or hobby sites such as:
However, all of them did not have it’s own domain name since it’s a free. And I found it’s difficult to manage multiple sites. Thus, I decided to (as of today) to manage only two sites which I have interest and passion. One for Internet of Things (i.e. IoT World) and the other is this Mazlan Abbas blog.
I will keep on posting the progress of this site as I customised it’s theme and content. As usual, currently this site does not appear in the first page of Google yet when we do a search on “Mazlan Abbas” (which it should). And also no one has yet subscribe to this Blog yet – something which I would like to measure the number of followers too.